Annual Welsh medium festival returns to north Wales village
The Eryri village of y Felinheli is preparing to hold its annual 9-day festival in a unique event celebrated through the medium of Welsh.
Gŵyl y Felinheli will take place on the shores of the Menai Straits in the village between 23 June – 1 July 2023.
The north Wales village has a strong footballing tradition which stretches back to the 1890s and used to be an international industrial epicentre, housing a shipping port for the second largest slate quarry in the world at the time.
But y Felinheli’s pride doesn’t just stem from its past, and this month will see village holding its annual 9-day festival of celebration.
Despite the village being modest in size and having a population of around 2,300, the event will include a golf tournament to be held the weekend prior to the festival officially beginning.
On Thursday 22 June, a large marquee will appear on the village green and the festival, which will start the following day will occupy the shores of the Menai at y Felinheli.
A poetry stomp, a free sailing session, a German Bierkeller, a festival decorating session, an Oedfa and a yoga session will all take place on the festival’s first weekend.
During the week the local primary school will perform their very own show, there will be an on-foot treasure hunt, a day dedicated to older residents of the village, a night of bingo, two dancing sessions, the festival’s annual quiz, a 10k race, and live music by the seaside.
The festival will end with a Noson Lawen, a night of comedy and entertainment on Friday 30 June and the Carnival Day itself on Saturday 1 July.
On the final Saturday, well-known Welsh artists Bwncath and Morgan Elwy will perform and for the first time a food village will be on-site.
Committee members admit that Gŵyl y Felinheli has a long history, and therefore the dates are rather ambiguous.
A traditional village carnival preceded the festival in its current form, and the carnival had its roots in the annual Regatta, of which the first was held in 1873.
Committee member Osian Owen said: “The people of y Felinheli are immensely proud of our community, and the nine-day-long festival is a staple of village life.
“I remember as a child growing up in the village, we had two Christmases, one in December and the other at the end of June.
“Does this sort of thing exist anywhere else? This sort of community-based event, on this scale, through the medium of Welsh? Last year we had one hell of a week, coming back for the first time since Covid put a stop our activities.
“And this year we welcomed new members to the festival’s organising committee which brought with them a lot of new, exciting ideas, and we’re looking forward to sharing nine days of events over the next fortnight.
“Homes in the village should receive our festival programme over the next days, and copies will be available digitally and in the village shop.
“We urge locals to keep an eye on our social media platforms to receive the latest information.”
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